Date: Wednesday 14 November 2007
Concern over 'below-inflation' increases for public services
UNISON, Scotland's public service union welcomed items in the budget
such as the removal of ring-fencing of grants to local government,
and the plans to phase out prescription charges in the NHS, but
said today that an early scan of the budget led to serious concern
for services - both in health and in particular local government.
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said today "This is a very
tight budget for the key public services, and seems to be predicated
on a pay cut for public sector staff. Local government seems to
be facing a very low increase, which will be hardly enough to deliver
the current level of services, let alone address the increasing
demands on local authorities, and even in health the increase does
not match inflation in a service where inflation traditionally runs
ahead of the RPI"
"We are also sceptical that increased 'savings' will deliver efficiencies
- particularly if large chunks of them are retained centrally, rather
than being used to deliver services. And you do not deliver decent
services by cutting staff pay."
The union also welcomed increased investment in nursery provision,
as long as this was not planned to dilute the professional role
of early years workers.
For further information please contact: Matt Smith, Scottish
Secretary 07771 548 997(m) Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser 07958
122 409 (m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715 583 729